Discussion about the weather usually puts me to sleep, but I get why it’s necessary. There are vacations to plan this time of year that require “appropriate” clothes. But mostly, it’s what people talk about when they have nothing to talk about. It’s a safe beginning since facing the elements, whatever they are, is something we all have in common. But really, there have to be more creative ways to start a conversation.

Weather happens. Whining is useless. But I’m jumping in with my two cents because the days of coping with hot temperatures is here. Already parts of the U.S. are frying eggs on the sidewalk.

I used to live in a place where vacationers came to escape the heat, Whidbey Island in Washington State. There I cherished the few weeks in the year when a person could actually wear shorts and sandals, my favorite fashion statement. The climate is just right for us here in Oregon, but I do have vivid memories of living in a house where opening the front door was more like opening the oven door. Recalling those days has triggered a few of tricks I used when the temps INSIDE the house approached 90°.

Wet Clothes. People scoff at this idea whenever I suggest it. Maybe they think they’ll look silly walking around with wet clothes, but they change their tune when their body magically cools down. Wet a T-shirt in the sink before putting it on. Or better yet, you can make it a family affair by wetting each other down with the hose or spray bottles. I often wore a wet bathing suit around the house when I lived in the heat. The reprieve lasts until it dries, but then you just re-spray. I remember keeping a tree trimming crew cool one summer by circling the tree with a bucket periodically, dipping their T-shirts in water. They laughed but not for long. If I put the bucket down, the climber would wad his up and hit the mark. Visions of the crew dropping out of the tree one by one from heat exhaustion kept me filling that bucket for hours.

Cool Scarf. I made a bunch of these for my daughter and her friends when they went to Burning Man one year. The Nevada dessert in September is brutal. These “neckties” provide continuous heat relief, can be purchased online, and are easy to make if you can sew a seam. A Cool Scarf is a long tube containing a teaspoon of polymer beads that swell up when soaked in water for 10 minutes. This squishy, snake-like tube tied around your neck makes your whole body feel cool. When the side against your neck warms up, you just rotate it by rolling it to the other side.

Wet Hat. Dip a cloth hat in water before putting it on. Straw hats work, but can get misshapen as they dry. This is a good thing if you want to have character.

Wet Washcloth. Many a night I managed to fall asleep with a wet washcloth covering my feet. This little bit of cool magically lowered the temperature of my whole body. If you’re really desperate, you can drape a wet towel over your whole body.

Here’s to keeping cool this summer. Here’s to fresh lemonade!

SECRET: Whatever method you use to cool off, remember to hydrate your body from the inside with plenty of water. Comfort can come from the smallest of changes.